Protect wild fish from suction dredge mining in Washington State!February 09, 2015
Washington’s rivers—and the wild fish that call them home—are facing a serious new threat. In search of gold, suction dredge miners use raft-mounted vacuums to suck up gravel and sediment in river-bottoms. In the process, they kill aquatic insects and fish eggs, destroy salmon spawning beds, and cause harmful sedimentation, erosion, and stream channel alteration.
Unlike California and Oregon, which recently prohibited suction dredge mining in salmon habitat, Washington is the Wild West for small-scale miners. There are no regulations prohibiting suction dredging in fish-bearing streams and no licensing fees or registration required.
In January, Representative Gael Tarleton (D-36) introduced H.B. 1162 to prohibit suction dredge mining in critical habitat for federally listed fish populations and impose license and registration fees. The bill currently has 10 cosponsors, but needs significantly more support to advance. You can help!
1. Contact your state representatives
Tell your state representative that you are concerned about the effects of suction dredge mining on native fish and ask him or her to support H.B. 1162. Find your legislator here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder.
The following representatives on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee are especially important:
Rep. Vincent Buys (42nd district): (360) 786-7854
Rep. Bruce Chandler (15th district): (360) 786-7960
Rep. Joel Kretz (7th district): (360) 786-7988
Rep. Ed Orcutt (20th district): (360) 786-7990
Rep. Joe Schmick (9th district): (360) 786-7844
Rep. Brian Blake (19th district – Committee Chair): (360) 786-7870.
2. Attend a “fish in” and hearing in Olympia!
Attend a “fish in” in front of the Capitol Building! Then, join us at the hearing on H.B. 1162.
When: Thursday, Feb. 12th at 1:30pm ("fish in" at 12:30pm)
What: House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee hearing on H.B. 1162
Where: Washington State Capitol; John L. O'Brien Building; House Hearing, Room B